Sunday, November 29, 2009

Beauty for Ashes

A very good friend of mine wrote this and shared it with me, and it opened up a different perspective for me on beauty for ashes... Thanks, Kelli :)

by Kelli W.

Today I was thinking about the Scripture where God promises to give His people “beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3), which Jesus referenced when he stood up in the synagogue and read this very same passage, proclaiming his fulfillment of these verses (Luke 4:17-18). I have heard this verse many times and it has always seemed sweet but maybe somewhat distant from my heart personally and like it applied to others, but today it struck me in a new way. It was as if suddenly I was very aware of what ashes are. Profound, I know ;-). I mean I guess I never thought about it in context to this verse. What are ashes? NOTHING. They are the charred remnants of something that was, but really, what can you do with ashes? NOTHING. Ashes are worthless leftovers that only get stuff dirty by their presence. You can’t build anything with ashes… you can’t really do anything with ashes except put them on your head and go about mourning… And what does God give us for the ashes of our lives? BEAUTY. Oh, something of such substance. He gives us real, true, eternal beauty. He adorns our souls with something that is lasting. He gives us love…. Perfect Love… not just a love that toys with our hearts or makes empty promises. Not a love that manipulates or connives or takes advantage… He gives us PERFECT, FAITHFUL, ETERNAL, COVENANTAL LOVE. Wow. God takes the nothing of my life: my failures, my shortcomings, my vain attempts at reaching righteousness in my own effort, my broken heart, my tears, my lost hope… all of these ashes…and in His Divine Providence, in a way that only He can do, He gives me BEAUTY. He crowns me with His love. This is quite the exchange.

It strikes me that in this exchange, what He gives us has real substance. It is not just a nice idea, a nice thought or an encouraging word in the way people have sympathy and try to make you feel better when you had a really bad day or the girl or guy does not return your admiration or you didn’t get the job or make cheerleading tryouts or the first string of the basketball team or whatever it is. When God names you, when God defines you, He holds the Trump card. He has the absolute and final say about who you really are. And He says who you are is beautiful. He says you are perfect. He says you are worthy of His love because of His blood.

And there’s more! This beauty is not solely substantial, it is eternal. What He is doing in us will last forever. How true the verses Paul writes, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:17, I just liked the KJ version in that one☺, emphasis mine).
The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The things which are not seen are ETERNAL. Did you hear that? He is giving you BEAUTY for your ASHES. All those shattered dreams, that rejection, that abandonment, that self hatred, those failures…. Ashes all of it… but ashes just blow away. And the Refiner of our hearts is creating a new thing. Like gold is refined through the fire, so our hearts are refined in this furnace of trials and tribulations (1 Pet. 4:12-14) if we but say YES to His Love in the middle of it. In the midst of the questions, as we journey on without knowing the way… as we come up leaning on His faithfulness rather than our own fleshly might our hearts are being refined and something beautiful is being formed… something of eternal value. We are being made into a Bride fit for a King. We are being given beauty for our ashes.

:: O God, I will receive this wonderful exchange. I will take Your Beauty for my ashes…. How can you be this good? ::

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I spent some time reading this yesterday and it just touched my heart so much. Thank you, lovely, for this post!! Many blessings and much love to you!!! : )